Rabin: Still No Decision on Talks Priority with Egypt, Jordan

Premier Yitzhak Rabin said this weekend it was still too early to decide if Israel would hold talks first with Egypt or with Jordan as the next stage of the peace process. In an army radio interview, the Premier said he preferred to postpone this decision until after the Arab leaders had ended their round of talks with Administration officials in Washington. He said the U.S. was not trying to influence the decision at this time.

Egypt would be preferable as a leader in any serious advance to settlements, but…there may be changes,” Rabin said. One change which could alter the preferability, he indicated, would be a change in Jordan’s partial settlement proposals. King Hussein’s current idea for an Israeli pullback from the Jordan River was unacceptable, Rabin stressed.

The Premier said Egypt and Syria were carrying out the military aspects of the disengagement accords, but Syria especially was lagging in the implementation of the civilian aspects, upon which there had been firm understandings at the time of signing. While there was some resettlement in the area returned by Israel to Syria in the Golan, the town of Kuneitra itself remained unrestored. Syria had declared that it wanted to wait upon future developments before rebuilding Kuneitra, Rabin recalled.

Rabin warned again of the danger of a new “eastern front” arising against Israel at Syrian instigation and comprising Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

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